The 2nd May was really a day of doing rather little as the weather sort of precluded doing very much, it was tipping down with rain and so, after a very decent lie-in in the wonderful apartment I was staying in, I did not really stray too far. Remember that I was travelling with absolutely minimal kit and I did not even possess anything vaguely approaching being showerproof never mind properly waterproof. My sole outer garment was and old, much-loved and now slightly tatty Ben Sherman denim jacket purchased as new from a charity shop in Northern Ireland some years ago for the ludicrous price of £4!
I did take myself back past the Church of Notre Dame of Dijon as I had been so impressed with it the day before but other than that it was a day very much occupied by sitting in bars drinking beer. Well, this was Fergy travelling after all. I have to say that there is no shortage of decent bars in Dijon and I certainly did my best to visit as many as possible. As well as decent bars there seems to be an almost endless selection of beers on offer and I really did my level best to do that selection justice. This really is the heart of wine country in France but I am not much of a wine drinker really and so it was beer all the way. I must admit that later in the trip I sampled the fruits of the vine a little but I shall come to that in due course.
What I did notice on my rather restricted travels was just how many memorials there are to those murdered by the Germans in the Second World War. You can barely walk one hundred yards without coming upon another example and I have included one here. The image above is of a memorial near the railway station commemorating the many who were deported from there to German concentration camps.
Another memorial, also included, was rather more unusual. If my admittedly poor French has been up to the task it commemorates those who were victims of racist and anti-Semitis persecution committed under the authority of the authority called the Government of the French state 1940 -1944 i.e. the puppet Vichy government kept in place by the Nazis. There is no mention of the Germans at all which I took to indicate the French hatred of collaborators during those dark days.
A very happy Fergy eventually returned, actually fairly early by his standards, for another night in the really rather comfortable sofabed.
After the rather washed out but generally enjoyable day the previous day the weather still was not great but certainly a bit of an improvement on what had gone before. Time for another walk round I felt but I had a greater imperative first. I fancied staying in Dijon as I was really rather enjoying it but my lovely little flat was booked for the next few nights and so a change of location was called for.
A quick excursion on booking.com yielded up a not too expensive hotel which turned out to be perfectly acceptable and, almost inevitably for me, in a slightly “edgy” area of town. Once again I found myself having to “force” my way past street gangs of North Africans apparently just spoiling for a fight but it never came to anything. Just youngsters strutting their stuff on the street I suppose although there was a distinct lack of females for them to be impressing.
As always, there will be a full review on the rather pleasant “Hotel Montchapet” (that being the name of the district it is in) in due course. On the plus side, I did discover a couple of fairly “lively” bars of the type I love so it was a touch of the “swings and the roundabouts”.
As stated, the weather was an improvement on the day before but then again anything would have been although it was still hardly glorious Spring sunshine and so it was another day of not doing a whole lot other than revisiting the rather good cafe Leo in the station as mentioned in a previous journal entry complete with undoubtedly disease-ridden “flying rats” as we call pigeons in London.
After that it was a very brief wander round town (the weather really was poor and I was not equipped for it) and eventually I used the previously mentioned Fergy “nose” to suss out a really brilliant little cafe / bar / restaurant where I was to become quite a fixture over the days to come.
I really was getting very fed up with the weather by this point and I was seriously wanting to head South for a bit of sun. I know from previous experience that both Southern Spain and the Algarve in Portugal can be wonderful at this time of year and I had seen advertising for travel to all those all those destinations and also Morocco and Tunisia via bus to cater for the needs of the many immigrants from those areas that are now in France. I could have done Morocco for less than €100 but it was going to be an awfully long journey on a coach with my bad back so I decided to give it a miss and just hang out in France.
There was also the question of going to Kempten in Southern Germany for what I thought would be undoubtedly the final Virtual Tourist Euromeet after the butchery of that peerless site and so heading South would have been taking me in the wrong direction. I was still really very much undecided, in truth I was right up until it happened. People had spent a lot of money booking accommodation and flights from all over the world and then a corporate monster just removed the main reason for the meeting with the minimum of notice and evidently not a care for those who effectively provided the best of their content and, ergo, vast revenue.
What was effectively another day’s pub crawl finished up with a burger and off to yet another rather comfy bed in yet another pleasant dwelling.
At this point I had no intention of going home (and still didn’t some weeks later) and the trip was getting progressively crazier by the day. I really did not give a damn about anything any more and has no intention of stopping before I needed to either get back to London to head to Canada or work out how to get there direct frome wherever I happened to be. It was still early May and there was probably still snow on the ground in Alberta (it happens) and so I thought I was good to keep on going for a while longer. When I go to Canada my dear friend Lynne and I go roaming in a rather aged but lovely campervan, or RV as they are called there, but I knew it was way too early for the “season” that far North so I had a bit of time to play with.
There is much more to come so stay tuned and spread the word.